Furthering the Work of the Great Commission in the CREC

Date: 10/6/2014
More audio from All Saints Church
Type: Sermon
Topic: Missions
Organization: All Saints
Price: FREE

Furthering Our Mission to Disciple the Nations (Matt. 28:19-20)
Matthew 28:18–20 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Theological Import:

  • The Authority. Jesus gave this commission to be actually accomplished because He has all power (exousia) and authority (dunamis) to make it so.
  • The Agency. Jesus gave this commission to the Church collectively (Acts 1:8ff) by the work of whole Body of Christ (Eph. 4:11ff).
  • The Accomplishment. Jesus gave this commission to be accomplished through (ecclesiastical) discipleship (including baptism) in all the ethnos by teaching them obedience to all of His revelation in Scripture.

Practical Import:

  • The Authority. Since we (CREC) believe in this actual authority (an almost unique view  in Christ’s current reign among evangelical bodies), we are more responsible to engage in the work of discipling the nations.
  • The Agency. Since the Church is manifest in many diverse congregations, our Communion of congregations should set practical goals for engagement.
  • The Accomplishment. One of our great challenges is the lack of a united channeling of resources. While other denominations accomplish this through diabolical work of centralized agencies and committees, we have taken the high road of inaction by disorganization. How might we honor our polity and yet overcome the inaction that arises from a lack of central leadership?

Proposed (and now approved) Action for the CREC Council
Rationale: One of the CREC’s great challenges in missions engagement is the lack of a united channeling of resources, including the assessment of mission agencies and/or missionaries. It is difficult for a congregation to do all the work of a mission agency. While most denominations accomplish this through centralized agencies and committees, our polity does not permit this (IV.A.4). However, our polity recognizes the value of the broader Church in Presbyteries and in Council which serves “to formulate plans of action concerning matters common to the churches” (IV.A.2.e). Missions rightfully should be a labor of congregations, yet some aspects of missions need the wisdom of the broader Church bodies, analogous to the way that congregations need the leadership of Presbyteries in helping assess men for the pastoral office, as well as to serve in oversight.

[Motion] The 2014 Council of the CREC appoint a Missions Recommendation Commission (MRC) consisting of one member from each Presbytery. This is a commission and therefore will act on behalf of Council, without the need of awaiting another Council to approve its recommendations. To accomplish the following tasks: This commission is to address the following tasks: 1) Create a set of guidelines or principles whereby to recognize CREC Council-recommended missions endeavors by May 1, 2015. Note: this is not to prohibit local congregations from other efforts; this would merely provide a basis for recommendations to Presbyteries and congregations. 2) Review the missions efforts across the CREC and other opportunities that meet CREC Council-approved criteria (i.e., as in point 1). 3) Provide recommendations to the 2015-2017 Presbyteries of CREC-recommended mission opportunities and suggested goals of engagement for the various Presbyteries through the churches of each Presbytery. 4) Report on the Commission'ss work to 2017 Council along with recommendations to the Council to continue to further missions in the CREC.

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more